Friday, November 10, 2006


...for NPR, and I promise not to write about them again for some time.

But they did do a rather good piece on negative campaign ads earlier this week. Apparently not only are the Democrats back -- but also irony (and not just on the Daily Show, either).

"All Things Considered" asked two of the genre's top voiceover actors to twist around some nursery rhymes to sound like negative campaign ads. As with the Rumsfeld verse, seeing is good, but hearing is believing.

A sample:

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. He said he could put himself together again. But after wasting thousands of our tax dollars, all the King's horses and all the King's men, he failed us. Humpty Dumpty. Wrong on wall sitting.”

I never did like that one anyway.


  1. Tale of 2 Fitzgeralds: A gloves-off story by John Kass

    Published November 10, 2006

    The old man's eyes filled with tears as Peter Fitzgerald was telling a great political story.

    The former senator explained to a downtown luncheon crowd on Thursday how he outfoxed White House guru Karl Rove and the Illinois Combine pressuring Rove to stop politically independent prosecutors from being brought to this state.

    "Karl Rove called back and said if you will not appoint anyone [from] out of state, we'll let you pick anybody you want, as long as that person is from Chicago," he said, as laughter broke out at the lunch for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

    Political operatives know the history. Fitzgerald went to the press first, to announce his choice of New Yorker Patrick Fitzgerald (no relation) as U.S. attorney in Chicago.

    This angered then-Gov. George Ryan and House Speaker Denny Hastert, City Hall and the crowd that figured they owned the federal hammer in Chicago.

    But the old man with the wet eyes wasn't laughing. He wasn't at lunch with Fitzgerald. Yet his tears certainly were a product of the former senator's gumption.

    Donald Tomczak, 72, the corrupt ex-water department boss for Mayor Richard Daley, stood in federal court a few blocks away, his face and shoulders sagging, looking at 47 months in federal prison. And more time to be added if Tomczak doesn't testify in future City Hall corruption cases yet to be announced.

    Tomczak lawyer Patrick Cotter said his client was merely a product of the old Chicago Democratic machine.

    Tomczak's Republican son, former Will County State's Atty. Jeff Tomczak, was there. Republican Jeff was also a product of that Democratic machine because his dad brought hordes of Democratic precinct captains to Will County to elect his son Republican prosecutor a few years ago.

    "Now you have got your pound of flesh from him," Jeff Tomczak scolded reporters, asking that they leave his dad alone.

    I'm not interested in Don Tomczak's flesh. But the feds are interested in what's in Tomczak's head.

    Before Daley became mayor, he vowed to throw Tomczak out the window of City Hall because Tomczak muscled Daley's precinct captains. But once he became king of Chicago, the mayor protected Tomczak, who was the creation of mayoral political brain Tim Degnan.

    Tomczak ran trucks on water projects, took at least $400,000 in bribes and commanded armies of political patronage workers hired in violation of federal court decree.

    "Clearly, some of Mr. Tomczak's crimes were condoned, they were facilitated and I believe in some respects they were honored by high-ranking portions of the City of Chicago," Assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick Collins said.

    I wonder what he means by that. It's just the kind of federal wisecrack that can bring on some bad mayoral indigestion, especially after Daley feasted the night before on $1,000 plates of corned beef at his Manny's Restaurant fundraiser.

    He feasted yet again on the news that potential mayoral challengers U.S. Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez would not challenge his reign.

    Don Tomczak shook hands with prosecutors and agents in court, and, judging by the mayor's reaction, City Hall must have heard about this ominous pressing of flesh.

    "He disgraced his family," Daley said of Tomczak. "Basically, he destroyed himself."

    When Daley's guys do federal time with their mouths shut, the mayor praises them, or sends their sons $40 million in city contracts.

    Still, the mayor said he never had any intention of firing Tomczak years ago, despite those boasts about that fifth-floor window.

    "I didn't care what allegiance they had as long as they were doing the job," Daley said. "... My father [the late Mayor Richard J. Daley] taught me that, and my church beliefs taught me that--never be vindictive against people."

    The swarm of political ghosts that haunt City Hall, those with "Mayoral Fall Guy" tattooed on their foreheads, would quibble, but they're dead, politically.

    For his part, former senator Fitzgerald also reached back to old Chicago in telling his story.

    He said he decided on an outsider for U.S. attorney here, someone untouchable by the Combine, after reading a biography of the late Tribune Publisher Col. Robert R. McCormick, who asked the White House to send untouchables to Chicago to hunt gangster Al Capone.

    Rove, Fitzgerald said, was merely responding to pressure from Illinois Republicans, and the former senator thanked President Bush for nominating Patrick Fitzgerald.

    Once the New York fed was introduced to journalists here on Mother's Day of 2001, it would have been difficult for the Combine to stop the appointment, Peter Fitzgerald said.

    "I intended to appoint someone who was not a political hack but independent of both political parties," he said. "And I said they're going to be screaming like a stuck pig when I do this."

    They squealed back then. And others have more squealing to do.

  2. Anonymous5:07 PM

    I especially liked the negative scary NPR ID they did at the end of the interview.
    Reminds me of Blaine,

  3. Anonymous9:28 PM